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glider - top-secret multi-mission plane

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posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 04:31 PM
I was thinking about TR-3A and came to a conclusion, that at the government must be developing a top-secret glider plane. It can be completely stealth since there are no engines (no hot trails, no sound, no additional radar return). It would fill the gap in air force. The same plane could be used as tactical and maybe even strategic reconnaissance, strike aircraft (successor of F-117) and special-ops infiltrator. BUT are there any evidence (sightings) of anything similar??

[edit on 31/1/08 by sovietman]

posted on Feb, 1 2008 @ 05:16 PM
Why would a glider be a decent platform for any of the roles you mention? It's not going to have all-aspect stealth (Nothing does)...but it will have severe limits on maneuverability, range, speed, and payload. Just the characteristics you want in a military (or even a civilian) aircraft.

posted on Feb, 1 2008 @ 06:25 PM
I'm with Brother, I don't see what tactical advantages a glider could possibly have over current alternatives. As Brother stated, there would be severe limitations inherent in a glider platform which would pretty much rule out a strike role, not to mention that cruise missiles, while expensive, are so accurate these days that you don't have to have physical eyes on target for most first strikes.

Further, the combination of stealthy UCAVs and satellites would almost have to be more efficient and offer a lower profile than a manned glider of limited maneuverability for reconnaissance. Although I am of the opinion that DARPA and the DOD have probably been researching or considering lighter than air vehicles for extended recon and electronic warfare roles.

They only role I could conceivably see a glider playing is for Spec-ops insertion, and even there there is a such a large amount of conventional alternatives (HAHO comes to mind) that it would make the large outlay of money for R&D and production extremely prohibitive.

What specifically about the TR-3A led you to the conclusion that they were developing a glider? Maybe there's something I'm not considering.


P.S. Since we're discussing gliders; other than the ones used in WWII, the only gliders I know of that the US armed forces have used are the TG family of training gliders, such as the TG-10. Anyone know of any others?

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 01:07 PM
OK you are right about manoeuvrability and speed limits. But speed is really less important than stealth. And with a glider you can really get true stealth. Plane could be designed stealthy, but engines are problem. If you turn engines off you can get a stealthy plane. Than if you have a stealthy plane, manoeuvrability isn't so important too. If they don't see you, they don't attack you and you can fly without special manoeuvres. Of course it wouldn't be a plane without engines, but it could turn engines off and glide XD.

When recon, strike or special-ops delivery were done, it would turn on engines and get out of hostile territory.

Why have a glider?? Isn't it practical to have a capability of high-resolution tactical reconnaissance without being detected?? And special-ops delivery in Pakistan without the knowledge of Pakistani government? HAHO is possible with planes that can be dected.

About UAVs. The glider could also be a UAV.

What specifically about the TR-3A led you to the conclusion that they were developing a glider? Maybe there's something I'm not considering.

Sighting on
IT was about 500 FT up and completely silent[probably had it's
engines off].It flew relatively slowly at about 70 mph at
about 400 ft. I was on the balcony of the ocean landings
resort with a pair of binoculars looking at cruise ships
when I noticed 5 lights on the underside of a triangular airship
My cousin and both of my brothers saw it too.

Another one: black manta sighting Click on the black dot in New Mexico.

I know it could be just fakes, but many of sighting reports say there was no sound. I also think Phoenix sighting was linked with such aircraft. There was no sound, it flew very slow... I think the military was doing an experiment to see how loud is such aircraft and how many people will notice it.

That's my theory.


[edit on 3/2/2008 by sovietman]

posted on Feb, 5 2008 @ 08:52 AM
I don't think a manned glider would have any practical real world military applications today. The only thing I could see a glider being built as is an extra-atmospheric hyper velocity skip vehicle. But multi-mission? I don't think so. But then you're also getting into the heat load and landing area (thousands of miles) issues too.

Micro UAV gliders might be useful in the areas for elint gathering missions or forward recon to military operations. They would be short term missions. A small payload could possibly be mounted on disposable, single use uavs, but this would be rather redundant given long range artillery and cruise missile capabilities today

posted on Feb, 5 2008 @ 05:33 PM
reply to post by sovietman

I would also just like to point out that whilst stealth is partly made up of heat source shielding, it is also made up making the planes funky radar dispersing shapes - which are completely un aerodynamic.

The current crop of stealth'd fighters only stay in the air because they have massive forward propulsion to make the best of what little natural aerodynamics they have, and massive ammounts of avionics to interpret what the pilot says he wants the plane to do and what the plane actually is able to do, and the way it is able to to do it.

as a glider has no internal propulsion any attempt to deviate from the ultra aerodynamic shape would result in something that just won't stay in the air! Technology is great, but sometimes physics just can't be ignored!

posted on Feb, 8 2008 @ 09:09 AM

I read the link you posted and tried to find the posting on Area 51 Zone but was unsuccessful. However, I now understand how you could come to the conclusion you did.

I can easily see how a number of sightings that reported a black triangular aircraft with little to no engine noise could lead you to believe that the airframe in question was a glider, or at least had a gliding capability, but I would caution against taking all those reports at face value.

The one you quoted from, while interesting, is highly suspicious. Altitude and velocity are notoriously hard to gauge for aircraft, as one has no visual references to compare it to. For instance, you can vaguely guess the speed of a car and it's distance from your eye by the speed at which it passes objects in it's vicinity. This is untrue for an aircraft, and made even more improbable when even the true size of the aircraft is unknown. Thus this sighting report, even if true, is virtually useless in determining the technical aspects of the airframe.

The other link you posted immediately raised my suspicions. First was the fact that it was a geocities account. Anyone, can put up a geocities webpage, and since it is a personal website they have no need to vet the information they put on the page. This in itself is not enough to dismiss the "evidence" it puts forth, but it should be considered.

Secondly, I noticed this supposed quote from Jane's Defence Weekly,

The Black Manta can hover up to 100 miles from its target, collecting photographs and eavesdropping-Janes Defence Weekly

I do not remember ever seeing a quote on this by Jane's, and further a quick google search on the quote only returned the page you had linked to. If this is a quote from Jane's it sounds more like a lighter than air vehicle in a long time-over target loitering, SIGINT role, than a glider.

All of that aside however, on should note; the sighting report did indicate that there was engine noise albeit very faint, and only after it had passed overhead.

I think all of this, combined with the arguments put forth by myself and others here, make a very good case for the TR-3A not being a glider.


posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 02:58 AM
reply to post by sovietman

A pure glider would not be reliable for use tactically. Gliders depend on air currents and thermals for travel and lift. These conditions are constantly changing due to time of day/night, weather, etc. Gliders have a limited range. An aircraft with glider like capabilities on the other hand...but then that's what the U2 is, a jet powered glider. Newer "electro-statically charged" aircraft would be theoretically radar invisible, and optical stealth is just around the corner, if not out there already.

Stealth is the first concern in any tactical situation and we have that technology now in operating aircraft and UAV (perhaps a powered glider), UCAV and ultra miniature reconnaissance drones. There is also the deltoid blimp, which may or may not be operational, that is silent and capable of loitering for days or weeks.

WWII saw the height of glider use by the military and also the end of their use militarily (other than the Air Force Academy's fleet of gliders).


posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 07:59 AM
I didn't say it is manned. It could be unmanned and also pretty small. But Gliders can also have aerodynamic shape. I don't buy that engine power alone keeps aircraft in the air. Well thanks Cypher. You have good arguments. I can believe you.

I'm a bit less convinced about TR-3A being a glider now.

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 03:05 PM
reply to post by sovietman

But Gliders can also have aerodynamic shape. I don't buy that engine power alone keeps aircraft in the air

I don't quite understand what you mean here, i'm saying that you can't have a glider that doesn't look like a glider because aerodynamics dictate that it must look the way they do... you can't make a glider look like f117 because the shape is not aerodynamic enough, and you can't make a glider look like a b2 because the blended wing is too heavy. planes like the f117 really only do stay in the air because they are being pushed forward, if they suffer engine failure they drop out of the sky very quickly because they are so un aerodynamic! the B2 is better, but is still no glider!

posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 03:09 AM

Originally posted by sovietman
Well thanks Cypher. You have good arguments. I can believe you.

I'm a bit less convinced about TR-3A being a glider now.

It was my pleasure Sovietman. It's conversations like this (an amicable, courteous, discourse) that ATS is truly about.

I make no claims to being an expert on Military or civilian aircraft, so I could still be wrong, there may indeed be a role for which a glider is best suited. Again though, I believe that with what we currently know about military aircraft and the missions that they must fill, that a glider with it's inherent limitations just doesn't make sense for any of them.

If you should come across any new information in the future that you believe points to a stealthy glider being in existence, or even a scenario in which it might be the best airframe to complete a given mission, please post it here. I am more than willing to reconsider my position.

Best regards.


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